ROUGHLY following the course of the Glennan Burn, a stand of ancient beech trees runs half a mile or more down through the Highlandman’s Wood above Helensburgh to the Highlandman’s Road.

Using a formula to work out the age of a tree by its girth, these trees are around 285 years old. They have lived through a lot of history. They have survived several harvests of the commercial pine plantation that surrounds them, untold storms, a Jacobite rebellion, the Napoleonic War, two world wars, the nuclear age.

You will see from my first picture that some of these trees were brought down by the hurricane of 1968, but still survive to this day, with constant new growth and leaf production. This is because some of the root system is still in the ground.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Ancient beech treeAncient beech tree

Recently, at least one of these surviving trees has been severely hacked away, presumably to make a clear run for the mountain bike track that now runs through where the boughs once spread.

This is very recent damage; the cuts are still fresh. I hope the perpetrators of this vandalism did not realise the significance or magnitude of the damage they were doing.

Helensburgh Advertiser: The tree has been damaged recentlyThe tree has been damaged recently

The trees were there before the bikes, and have done nothing to deserve this mutilation. Please leave them alone - just take a short detour round them.

Peter Knox


READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: January 28, 2021

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LIKE the Beech Tree in Duchess Wood (Advertiser Comment, January 21), I am writing to request more kindness and understanding.

But in my case this letter is being sent from the Celestial Forest as a few weeks ago I was cut down in my prime, with a hundred years behind me and as many more to come.

When the first lockdown started in the spring I asked my friend, the Oak, who stood beside me, if she had heard the sound of chainsaws that seem to have started all of a sudden. She told me not to worry: no one was working, people had to stay at home.

So I was happy, and my fresh green leaves unfurled, the insects emerged from their cocoons, and the birds came back.

When the second lockdown started in winter I heard the sound of chainsaws again. Once more, I told my friend the Oak, who said, again that I was not to worry: we are in a Conservation Area, where people are not allowed to cut us down without permission.

So, I was happy, and when the wind blew I sheltered the owner’s house, just as I had shaded it from the worst of the sun in the summer.

READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: January 21, 2021

And then the executioners came, laughing and joking, as they do, half afraid themselves as to what they were being asked, to cut us down so that the owner had a better view.

They pollarded the Oak within an inch of her life, reducing her living limbs to stumps. I wondered if that was to be my fate, but instead they took a saw to my huge girth and, as I fell, I called out to the Oak to say goodbye, before my massive, shining trunk hit the ground, shaking the earth.

You would think that with a pandemic killing the ash trees that people would be worried about the rest of us, but they only think of themselves.

Perhaps it is because of their own pandemic, and people are worried that their lives are so much shorter than trees, but I think they should understand that we need each other, trees and people: trees to help the planet, people to plant trees and look after them.

People must stop this opportunistic, indiscriminate, and, too often, illegal killing of trees, if they want to continue to live on this earth. It is simple as that.

Another Beech Tree

Submitted by Mike Thornley, Rhu

READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: January 14, 2021

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I AM writing to thank the volunteers at the centre at Lomond School where my parents received their vaccination last week.

Everyone created a welcoming and reassuring atmosphere and the process was straightforward and efficient.

But particular thanks are due to two of the parking marshals who came to my parents’ assistance when their car broke down in dreadful weather conditions.

In these difficult times small acts of kindness such as this restore the feeling of community the virus has deprived us of, remind us what really matters, and are much appreciated.

Judith Morrison

Via email

READ MORE: 'Let us look forward' - thousands receive Covid vaccinations in Helensburgh and Lomond

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THE start of 2021 is proving to be an acutely challenging time for people with cancer, the NHS and for cancer care.

Indeed, it’s clear that this is the most worrying time in recent history to get a cancer diagnosis.

At Macmillan, people are calling our support line every day to tell us about the heightened anxiety, loneliness and distress that they are feeling.

On our support line – open seven days a week on 0808 808 00 00 – specially trained nurses, counsellors and financial support advisors are available to help anyone affected by, or worried about, cancer.

They can provide comprehensive information and advice, as well as emotional support, to help people with cancer cope with the additional strain of the coronavirus pandemic.

We know doctors and nurses are working in unspeakably difficult conditions and are having to make tough decisions every day.

Healthcare professionals are doing everything they can to keep cancer care on track, but we also know that some treatment – operations, for example – are being cancelled or postponed because essential services such as ITU are full of seriously ill people with Covid-19.

READ MORE: News, views and local opinions

What is absolutely vital is that if there are changes to treatment plans, these must involve the person living with cancer and be communicated clearly.

Although some changes may be needed for treatment plans, this is not the case everywhere or for all treatments or tests.

Healthcare professionals are doing everything they can to make hospitals a safe environment so it’s really important that people with cancer who have been invited for tests or treatment do attend.

GPs are open if you are worried about possible cancer symptoms, and screening and other vital tests have resumed in a Covid-safe way. The NHS is still here for you.

As well as our support line, comprehensive cancer information and support, including our latest guidance on the impact of coronavirus on cancer care is also available on and our online community is there to provide invaluable emotional and peer support.

We are doing whatever it takes to make sure our vital support continues to be available.

We urge the public to do their bit to reduce the spread of coronavirus, which will in turn relieve pressure on the NHS.

Gordon McLean

Strategic Partnership Manager in Scotland for Macmillan Cancer Support

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